Join Us at Verde Valley School for an Open House and Program Launch Party
Verde Valley School and Sedona Arts Center are proud to announce a partnership to establish a new American residency program for artists and cultural managers. We're calling it the Sedona Summer Colony—and our inaugural effort to explore the guest-host relationships begins in late June.
We invite you to join us on May 31 for an opportunity to learn more about this project and its place among 21st century artists' colonies: tour the campus, discover who will be in residence this summer, and contribute to our ambitious initiative in any way you can. Stop by, ask questions, get involved, and help us celebrate a potential new chapter in local cultural development:
Sedona Summer Colony A New American Residency Program
for Artists and Cultural Managers
at Verde Valley School
Open House and Program Launch Party Tuesday, May 31 from 5:00 to 7:00pm
Verde Valley School Quadrangle & Campus
Campus Tours, Small Bites, and
Refreshments, followed by Q&A with co-founders:
Paul Amadio, Head of Verde Valley School
Eric Holowacz, Executive Director of Sedona Arts Center
This summer, the first-ever Sedona Summer Colony will host over 100 significant creative people and visiting cultural leaders from around the world—providing each with time, space, and opportunities for local discovery. They are musicians, choreographers, poets, film-makers, organization directors, and documentarians. These guests will populate the Verde Valley School campus and become temporary members of our community. While here, they will explore our world—and we will support theirs. To make Sedona Summer Colony a success, we'll need your help, your local knowledge, your volunteerism, and your support. Let's ensure that Sedona is the best host and most interesting place they've ever experienced.
Why? Because our inaugural artists and producers are active ingredients in 21st century American culture. Because Sedona deserves an entity and legacy like the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire, Aspen Institute, Yaddo in Upstate New York, Hambidge Center in Georgia, and Chautauqua. And because by playing generous host, we also hope to offer our Sedona Summer Colony residents a new understanding of this community—and a life-long relationship with the wonders of our high desert landscapes. If we get it right, they'll go home with new discoveries, unimagined inspiration, and a deeper knowledge of Sedona's undeniable sense of place. We'd love your help.
How You Can Support the Inaugural Sedona Summer Colony
All of the great artist colonies—and every deliberate creative community we know of—were built with a combination of vision, people, infrastructure and community resources. Over the past six months, we've been gathering these ingredients and setting the stage for the first ever Sedona Summer Colony. In order to make this inaugural effort a success—and to help us establish this model as an ongoing annual effort—we welcome your participation.
There are several ways that our local community can help this summer. Click below to learn how to become a charitable sponsor, volunteer your time and local knowledge, or donate unused housing, studio space, or hotel rooms in support of visiting artists....
Who are the Inaugural Sedona Summer Colony Residents?
To begin this new program, Sedona Arts Center and Verde Valley School have invited over 100 fascinating creative people from around the world to join us and build a new cultural development model for Sedona. Their time here this summer will be free of obligation, self-directed, and supported by our efforts to provide work space and local community connections. Here's just a sample of the extraordinary guest-host relationships we will foster with your help...
Tasmanian artist and cultural manager, Dave Edgar, will use his time in Sedona to explore geological phenomenon, continue a series of drawings based on rock structures, and build connections between his home city, Hobart, and Northern Arizona. Learn about Dave's work here and here.
New Zealand-based playwright and documentary producer, Julie Hill, will spend much of her summer in Sedona researching American culture and working on a collection of satirical non-fiction essays about national stereotypes: how they came to be formed, whether there is any truth to them, what their function is, and why we categorize particular groups of people. Read more about Julie here and here.
Brad and Amanda Kik, agricultural activists and co-founders of the Crosshatch artist residency program in Michigan, will bring their bioneer spirit to the campus, and share practical environmental stewardship solutions and ecological community-building efforts with Sedona. Watch their TED talk here.
Miami-based Brazilian artist Ernesto Kunde, will explore landscapes and painting, and find new influences in the red rock and riparian environments surrounding Verde Valley School. Read an interview with Ernesto here or learn more about his work here and here.
Playwright D. W. Jacobs works at the intersections of art, literature, and the sciences. He was co-founder and long-time artistic director of San Diego Repertory Theatre, and now writes for theatre, film, and digital storytelling formats. His play R. Buckminster Fuller: The History (and Mystery) of the Universe premiered in 2000, and has since played around the world. As our guest, D.W. will return to the desert, where his past work found much inspiration.
South Carolina conceptual artist, Michaela Pilar Brown, creates profound installations and visual statements about the female body, African-American experience, and the making and interpretation of objects. While in residence, she will continue her latest work, an exploration of home and memory, and connect with our own sense of place.
New York-based Belgian artist, Vahakn Arslanian, will head West to change scenery from his familiar streets of Brooklyn to our expansive desert landscapes and red rock monoliths. A self-taught artist, he uses found objets and repurposed materials to generate collage, sculpture, and installation works. A fascinating protégé of Julian Schnabel, Vahakn has an extensive online profile here.
Choreographer JoAnna Mendl Shaw is founder of The Equus Projects, an integration of dance with humans and horses. While at Verde Valley School, she will bring a collaborating choreographer, 2 dancers, and a videographer to research and workshop a new performance piece inspired by local settings.
We've also formed partnerships with several of America's most productive cultural proving grounds: the formidable AS220 in Providence, Rhode Island; the multi-site artist studio provider Radiant Hall in Pittsburgh; and the Masters of Arts Management Program at Carnegie Mellon University. They will send small groups to our inaugural Sedona Summer Colony and help us explore longer-lasting connections and creative opportunities across the country.
Frequently Asked Questions
How did this partnership begin? Is there a fee for participating artists? Will resident artists produce or present work for a local audience? Will they explore the region with excursions and tours? Is there a Sedona Summer Colony website? Will visiting artists need housing or studio space off-site? Can I come to the Sunday Afternoon Artists-and-Community Potlucks? What's a javelina? How are Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning connected to all this?
These questions and more are answered in our Sedona Summer Colony FAQ—a guide for invited and incoming artists and cultural managers. You can view this extensive question-and-answer document—intended for our inaugural residents—by clicking here.
About Verde Valley School
Established after WWII with a unique global outlook, Verde Valley School is located on 300 acres in a rustic setting eight miles south of the City of Sedona. Founders Hamilton and Barbara Warren opened the campus in 1948 with sixteen students and a small handful of teachers and artists, dedicated from its beginning to changing the world. Mindful of the international horrors of war and the ravages of ethnocentrism and racism in this country, the Warrens believed that America needed a school where the values of cultural diversity would be understood and celebrated—not simply studied and tolerated.
This quote, from Hamilton Warren, sums up what they set out to do in a remote patch of Sedona: “The nation, indeed the world, needs a school that will bring together children from many nations, many cultures, all races and religions, not simply to study and tolerate one another, but to learn from and celebrate their differences.”
Today, the campus has a village-like feel, with a small quad, organic farm, dining hall, library, ceramics studio, performing arts hall and gallery, equestrian facilities, and dormitory and faculty housing. It is framed by monolithic red rocks, the Oak Creek riparian ecosystem, and high desert landscapes of Coconino National Forest. During the school year, it is home to 125 private high school students who care for the land and the campus, work towards an International Baccalaureate degree, and sustain the founding vision of cultural understanding and togetherness. This summer, it will become home to Sedona Summer Colony.
About Sedona Arts Center
In 1958, the Verde Valley School art department head, Egyptian sculptor Nassan Gobran, and a dozen other civic leaders founded the organization that would become Sedona Arts Center. The population of the area at that time was less than 400 people, most of whom were ranchers, orchard workers, and merchants. A few years later, with support form the town’s small Chamber of Commerce, Gobran acquired a former apple orchard warehouse that became known as the Art Barn in what is now Uptown Sedona. The first exhibition featured works by Max Ernst and Dorothea Tanning, and the early years included arts education, lectures, exhibitions, and live theatre.
Throughout the 1960s and 70s, the barn and Arts Center became a hub of creative activity, artistic development, cultural events, and community-building. Today, it keeps that tradition and operates an expanded campus, a fine art gallery that represents 110 local artists, and a school that offers over 100 classes and workshops each year. The organization also presents innovative collaborative projects like Peace Paper Workshops, Loving Bowls, the 12 x 12 Project, Plein Air festivals, Sedona Ukulele Posse, and community projects like the VOC Arts Annex, and gatherings in keeping with Gobran's original vision. The most ambitious initiative in a long time is driven by a renewed partnership with Verde Valley School—and the desire to create America's next great artist residency program, Sedona Summer Colony.